Dis­ci­pline fo­cus for Demons

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Netball Countdown - BY SARAH SCULLY

La­harum net­ballers will have a stronger fo­cus on dis­ci­pline and pro­fes­sion­al­ism this sea­son under the guid­ance of play­ing A Grade coaches Re­becca Mcin­tyre and Caitlin Story.

Mcin­tyre said club net­ball lead­ers had a ‘two to three-year’ plan they hoped would lead to fur­ther suc­cess.

De­spite sev­eral strong years, in­clud­ing a near-per­fect home-an­d­away sea­son last year, the Demons are still seek­ing an elu­sive premier­ship. La­harum made it to the pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal in 2017 but was de­feated by even­tual premier Na­timuk United.

Mcin­tyre said the dis­ap­point­ment of fall­ing short of a grand fi­nal berth would pro­vide fur­ther mo­ti­va­tion.

“At the end of the day, we didn’t handle the pressure well and they did,” she said.

“That’s some­thing we are go­ing to work on through­out the whole year. “Caito and I are on the same page and we want to send a con­sis­tent mes­sage from the start of the sea­son. As A Graders – like at any club – we are role mod­els and we need to set an ex­am­ple for the other grades, par­tic­u­larly for ju­niors com­ing through. The girls have re­sponded re­ally well to our di­rec­tion. The at­mos­phere so far is re­ally pos­i­tive and the girls are re­ally step­ping up al­ready, which is great.”

Mcin­tyre said net­ball pre-sea­son started about a month ago and the club had at­tracted good num­bers on the train­ing track.

Team lists were fi­nalised last week and the Demons will play prac­tice matches against Wim­mera out­fit Hor­sham Saints tomorrow night.

“We’re all ex­cited and look­ing forward to the start of the sea­son,” Mcin­tyre said.

She said she and Story had taken a dif­fer­ent ap­proach this year, set­ting squads in­stead of teams.

The pair will coach both A and B squads.

“We’ll have squads for the first six weeks or so, so if a player is hav­ing a cou­ple of good weeks in B Grade they will have an op­por­tu­nity to go up to A Grade and vice versa,” Mcin­tyre said.

“We want to be able to pro­mote play­ers through­out the whole sea­son, and that’s for all grades. If a player is go­ing well in C Re­serve, why shouldn’t they have an op­por­tu­nity to have a go at C Grade?”

Mcin­tyre said La­harum would have a good mix of youth and ex­pe­ri­ence in 2018 af­ter re­tain­ing the ma­jor­ity

of its A Grade list. Goalie Maddie Ire­dell has re­turned to the club af­ter a year in Gee­long, mid­courter Baylee Miller will travel from Bendigo and mid­courter Court­ney Guy has been pro­moted to the A Grade squad from B Grade.

A Grade will, how­ever, be without mid­courters Aily Mcauliffe and Ally His­cock, who are off to univer­sity.

“It’s al­ways hard to re­place young talent, es­pe­cially in A Grade, be­cause those girls are fit and ex­pe­ri­enced,” Mcin­tyre said.

Mcin­tyre, who was a key part of a strong era of net­ball suc­cess at No­rad­juha-quan­tong be­fore trans­fer­ring to La­harum, said ju­nior de­vel­op­ment was vi­tal for a strong net­ball club.

“Dur­ing that time at Quanny it just be­came a given that you would play fi­nals,” she said.

“That’s be­cause we were giv­ing girls as young as 13 and 14 a taste of A Grade. By the time they hit ca­pac­ity they were al­ready sea­soned A Grade play­ers. We want to do a sim­i­lar thing at La­harum and breed them through.”

Mcin­tyre said Jess Her­non and new­comer Ha­ley Parry would gain valu­able se­nior ex­pe­ri­ence this sea­son.

“Jess had a great year last year and was part of the under-17 premier­ship team. She also played B Grade,” she said.

“This is her first year as a full-time se­nior net­baller and we’re look­ing forward to see­ing her step up. Ha­ley is 17 and will also be in a se­nior squad. She’s been play­ing in Ballarat, so we’re ex­cited to have her.”

La­harum made fi­nals in all grades bar 15 and under last sea­son, some­thing the club is un­der­stand­ably proud of.

“All in all we had a suc­cess­ful year,” Mcin­tyre said.

“We hope that by put­ting some pro­ce­dures in place and hav­ing sup­port through the whole club we will be strong again in all grades. Hav­ing all grades make fi­nals is def­i­nitely our goal. We have had a fantastic at­mos­phere out there and all the girls are ex­tremely pos­i­tive and fo­cus­ing on getting ready for the sea­son opener against Kal­kee.”

Ema Ire­dell

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